Prominent attorney Pierce O'Donnell
admitted pleaded no contest to charges of laundering campaign funds to then-City Attorney Jim Hahn's first campaign for mayor in 2001. The Times originally reported that O'Donnell pleaded guilty to five misdemeanors and as part of the deal should get three years probation. [* A correction posted after noon clarified that his attorney pleaded no contest on O'Donnell's behalf.] Twenty-one other charges were dropped. The Times bills the plea deal as capping one of DA Steve Cooley's "major political corruption investigations," and further says that news of the charges played a role in Hahn's reelection defeat last year. That's overselling it some. O'Donnell was accused of hiding the source of just $25,500 in donations, and Hahn lost—big—for lots of reasons. As for Cooley, what ever happened to the big pay-for-play probes that left a much darker stain on the Hahn campaign? So far, nothing.
Friday stories: $155,000 fine, three years during which O'Donnell can do no political fundsraising, and he still faces a State Bar disciplinary hearing and investigations by the Federal Election Commission, the state Fair Political Practices Commission and the City Ethics Commission. LAT, Daily News, Daily Breeze, Daily Journal (unlinkable).